Archive for December, 2009

December 30, 2009

BEGINNERS MIND

Question of the Day:
What must I let go in order to be open to growth in 2010?

The sin in the beginning of the Bible is to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17). The moment I sit on my throne where I know who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, then Im capable of great evilwhile not thinking of it as evil! I have eaten of the wrong tree, according to the Bible. Dont judge, dont label, dont rush to judgment. You dont usually know other peoples real motives or intentions. You hardly know your own.

What the author of the classic Cloud of Unknowing says is that first you have to enter into the cloud of forgetting. Forget all your certitudes, all your labels, all your explanations, whereby youve put this person in this box; this group is going to heaven, this race is superior to that race. Just forget it. Its largely a waste of time. Its usually your ego projecting itself, announcing itself, and protecting itself. It has nothing to do with objective reality or real love of the truth.

If the world, and the worlds religions, do not learn this kind of humility and patience, I think were in definite trouble.

Mantra:
Let each moment be a new beginning

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December 29, 2009

BEGINNERS MIND

December 29
Thomas à Becket

Question of the Day:
Where in my life do I most need the freedom not to know?

The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

~ Thomas à Beckets words in T.S. Eliots
Murder in the Cathedral

Great spiritual teachers always balance knowing with not knowingand knowing that you dont know, even your own motivesas we see in St. Thomas à Becket. This balancing act became the central Biblical great idea called faith. I am afraid it has been largely lost in the west in our desire to combat secularists, atheists, and unbelievers. The Christian churches today largely define faith as knowing, and even being certain about your knowing, when in fact it means exactly the opposite!

Faith is being willing not to know, and still being content, because God knows. Faith is a learned tolerance for ambiguity because I no longer use knowledge as power, so I no longer need to be right. I do not even need to know that I am perfectly moral, superior, or good, because I now know as Jesus said, that God alone is good (Mark 10:18).

Now thats definitely a gift from Godto be able to live with the freedom not to know and not to be rightand that is exactly why we always said that faith is a gift. It is a gift we can consciously ask for and grow into, but we do need to know what the goal is!

Adapted from Beginners Mind

Christmas 2009

December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009.
What a wonderful day to remember what Jesus did for us as He showered us with His love and taught us how to love our neighbour as ourselves. Here is a message of unconditional love from two of my favourite people – Jean Vanier and Henri Nouwen.
Lord, may You teach us to love the unlovable just as You did. May You teach us how to love the widow, the orphan and “kiss the leper” just as You did. May You foster unconditional restorative love in our hearts so we may become more like You every day.

DAILY THOUGHTS from JEAN VANIER
Love. When we no longer have the heart of a child who seeks to be an instrument of peace and unity, we either become discouraged or want to prove ourselves. How can we nourish this child’s heart? Love can only feed on love. The only way to learn how to love is to love. When the love that is sacrifice begins to grow, words, gestures and flesh itself are permeated with gift and communion. – Jean Vanier, Community and Growth, p. 193
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DAILY MEDITATION Henri Nouwen
The Task of Reconciliation. What is our task in this world as children of God and brothers and sisters of Jesus? Our task is reconciliation. Wherever we go we see divisions among people – in families, communities, cities, countries, and continents. All these divisions are tragic reflections of our separation from God. The truth that all people belong together as members of one family under God is seldom visible. Our sacred task is to reveal that truth in the reality of everyday life.
Why is that our task? Because God sent Christ to reconcile us with God and to give us the task of reconciling people with one another. As people reconcile with God through Christ we have been given the ministry of reconciliation” (see: 2 Corinthians 5:18). So whatever we do the main question is, “Does it lead to reconciliation among people?”

Mary, The Prepared One

December 9, 2009

Question of the Day: How is reality my teacher?

Upon receiving the sacred word of her pregnancy, Mary does not contemplate it for long. Rather, she acts immediately: she went as quickly as she could to a town in the hill country (Luke 1:39) to visit her cousin, Elizabeth.

There is no mention of planning, companionship, means of travel, inconvenience, or possible difficulties. Like Abraham and winged Mercury, she moved with the action, toward her cousins very practical need. Sometimes it is action itself which leads us to our best contemplation. If we contemplate too long, we sometimes avoid the necessary action.

The events of life themselves are Marys guide and teacher. She does not need to figure it out and plan accordingly; the plan will be given by God through lifes ordinary events and encounters. Reality itself is her teacher. That is why she could hear angels. And that is why she could hear Elizabeth. As Paula DArcy says so well, God comes to us disguised as our life.

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 5, Day 3

Mary, The Prepared One

December 6, 2009

Question of the Day:
How does Advent help me become more receptive?

The Annunciation story (Luke 1:26-38) is the crescendo point of the theme of total grace and gift. Did you ever notice that Mary does not say shes “not worthy”? She just asks for clarification. She only asks How because that might ask something more of her. She never asks if, whether or why!

That is quite extraordinary and reveals her egolessness. She becomes the archetype of perfect receptivity. It takes the entire Bible to work up to one perfect vessel that knows how to say an unquestioning yes to an utterly free gift.

Fr. Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations cac